SCOTS are hoarding an incredible £2.4 billion worth of unworn and unwanted clothing in their wardrobes.

And the clothes could instead be used to help vulnerable people across the country, Shelter Scotland said today.

The charity, which each year helps over half a million people in Scotland, says the average household has up to £1,000 worth of clothes that have not been worn for at least a year, most often because they no longer fit.

It now hopes that Scots will rummage through wardrobes, drawers, cupboards and attics and donate any unwanted items to one of the charity's shops to help them in the fight against bad housing and homelessness.

Last year 36,457 households made homeless applications to their local council in Scotland.

Meanwhile, 150,500 households are currently on waiting lists for a home of their own.

Shelter Scotland says it accepts all donations, regardless of the age or condition of items. Just £10 can help a family or individual facing homelessness or bad housing though its free national helpline.

Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said today: "The total cost of unworn clothes is a staggering £2.4 billion in Scotland. Even a very small fraction of that could help Shelter Scotland to continue our fight against bad housing and homelessness.

"It costs just £10 for one of our expert advisors to help a family or individual at risk of losing their home - we can raise that money by selling an unwanted jumper or pair shoes. £45 is enough to train an advisor to protect children at risk, and that money could be raised from selling an unwanted winter coat that's taking up space in someone's wardrobe.

"We hope that the people of Scotland will continue to support us, because without their help and generosity our fight to end bad housing and homelessness would be so much harder."

Research by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) shows that the annual footprints of a household's new and existing clothing are equivalent to the weight of over 100 pairs of jeans - or the water needed to fill over 1,000 bathtubs.

WRAP says that extending the average life of clothes by just three months, such as donating them to charity, would lead to a 5-10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints.

It is estimated that £140 million worth, or 350,000 tonnes, of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year - clothes which Shelter Scotland says could be donated to charity. [4]

Mr Brown added: "We've all got clothes we no longer wear or need.

"If every person in Scotland donated just one item to a Shelter Scotland shop it would make a world of difference. Shelter Scotland believes that everybody deserves a home. Our work won't stop until there's a home for everyone."

The charity says the top two reasons for why people donate to charity shops are to help people in need and because it's a convenient way to get rid of items they no longer need.

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